Writing for the New York Times , John Markoff reports on Virginia Tech’s recently installed
Power Mac G5-based supercomputer. Markoff indicated that the G5 supercomputer is about to be ranked “as one of the fastest machines in the world.”
As MacCentral has
previously reported, Virginia Tech’s supercomputing cluster is built from 1,100 2.0GHz PowerPC G5 systems. The educational institution grabbed the systems when they first started shipping from Apple earlier this year and cobbled the cluster together using the help of technicians and student volunteers fueled by free pizza and football tickets.
Markoff reports that Virginia Tech’s official rankings won’t be posted until a supercomputer industry event to be held next month, but preliminary reports suggest that the G5 cluster can compute 7.41 trillion instructions per second — a speed that only three other supercomputers in the world can surpass.
The cluster cost “slightly more than $5 million” and took a bit more than a month to put together, a fraction of the cost and time such systems usually take.
“… the fastest cluster machine, the Lawrence Livermore system consisting of 2304 Intel Xeon processors, is capable of 7.63 trillion operations a second, at a price estimated at $10 million to $15 million. The Virginia Tech computer makes the cost-to-performance equation even starker,” said Markoff.